15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan; O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain, at the mount that God desired for his abode, yes, where the Lord will dwell forever?
17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.
18 You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.
19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah
20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.
22 The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 that you may strike your feet in their blood, that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”
24 Your procession is seen, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary 25 the singers in front, the musicians last, between them virgins playing tambourines:
26 “Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
Cherished by the people of Israel was the conviction that God had chosen Jerusalem as His dwelling place among His people. Not that He is merely some local deity, restricted to the borders of this small land, He is God over all the earth. In fact, Zion, where His abode would be, was not a spectacular location. It is appropriately called the hill of Zion, a very modest mountain, if indeed you could call it a mountain. We don’t know exactly why this particular spot was chosen, but the words of Paul come to mind: “…God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)
That God would choose to express His sovereign will through things considered foolish and weak exposes our propensity for pride. Paul goes on, “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:28-31).
The Corinthian church had many earthly reasons to boast – wealth, power, and influence, to name a few. In our modern American culture, most still consider these things to be paramount to success; Scripture disagrees. In his letters, Paul consistently lists righteousness, holiness, and redemption as those which are far better to pursue than any worldly priority. The scholar Gordon Fee states it well when he says, “God’s wisdom does not have to do with ‘getting smart,’ nor with status or rhetoric. God’s wisdom—the real thing—has to do with salvation through Christ Jesus.”
Surely, you’ve met with some worldly success in your personal or professional life. Perhaps you’ve landed a fruitful career or earned a sizeable raise last year. Maybe you have a handful of competent grown children or a rare collection of Ninja Turtle action figures from the 80’s, now worth thousands of dollars. As exhilarating as those accomplishments might feel, they pale in comparison to the eternal glory of Christ and a relationship with Him.
When you meet worldly success, take time to thank God for it, but also, soberly consider the fact that it cannot provide anything near what Jesus can. No matter our talent or achievement – we are weak apart from Him. Celebrate Jesus’ redemptive power in your insufficiency. Rejoice at the work He does through you, despite your weakness.
Prayer for today: Lord God, give us the courage to follow your lead in our lives. You have given us everything we need to serve you effectively, help us keep that in mind and remind us of your goodness. Thank you for your blessings. Amen.